It’s widely expected that Arsenal will sign a new goalkeeper during the summer transfer window. There is little doubt that we need a reliable, experienced and talented ‘keeper, something that has been sadly lacking since the departure of David Seaman in 2003. I mean no disrespect to Jens Lehman but his erratic behaviour and volatile temperament, which led to him being nicknamed Mad Jens, indicates to me his unreliability.
Of our present crop Szczesny is probably the best but Arsene Wenger seems to have spotted a flaw in his temperament hence his recent relegation to the bench. Fabianski is a reasonable ‘keeper but is not up to the standard required by a club playing near the top of the Premiership and in, hopefully again next season, the Champions League. Neither is Mannone.
We have been “linked” with several ‘keepers over the recent past, although it has to be said that the “linkage” has been mostly speculation on the part of tabloid sports writers desperate for some copy.
Two names have, however, appeared with some regularity, Stokes City’s Bosnian international Asmir Begovic and, rather surprisingly, Barcelona’s Spanish international Victor Valdes. One other high profile ‘keeper recently added to the list is Real Madrid’s Iker Cassillas.
Should any of the three be signed then I would expect at least one of our present ‘keepers to depart.
Without knowing how Wenger really sees his ‘keepers it is difficult to know just what he is looking for in terms of a replacement, if he feels that one of them will “make it” in the near future then a short term option may be considered. If, however, that is not the case then a younger player will be the requirement.
It would seem from newspaper gossip that Begovic is the favourite at the moment, at 25 years old he should be approaching his peak, at Stoke City since 2010, he has played 87 times, so has plenty of Premiership as well as international experience having played 20 times for Bosnia Herzegovina.
In the been there, done that, got the T-shirt category both Cassillas and Valdes would be terrific signings but as both are 31 years old they do not represent long term solutions and Wenger’s well known reluctance to give contracts of more than one year to players in that age group means that either could only be seen as stop gaps.
My personal preference would be for Wenger to take the long term view and sign Begovic, but either of the other two would more than adequately fill the gap up to the end of our manager’s present contract.
Begovic, Cassillas or Valdes? What do you think?
Written by Norfolk Gooner